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On the roster: Will Hurd’s retirement could be an omen for GOP - Warren continues to embrace ‘Medicare for All’ - U.S. job growth remains steady in July - Trump pulls out of Reagan-era arms treaty - Om nom nom nom
WILL HURD’S RETIREMENT COULD BE AN OMEN FOR GOP
Atlantic: “It’s bad enough for House Republicans that eight of their members have already decided to call it quits after next year, that six have announced their retirements in the last two weeks alone, and that those fleeing Congress include two of the party’s 13 women lawmakers, its chief of candidate recruitment, and the GOP’s sole African American representative in the House, Will Hurd of Texas. What’s even worse for the party’s diminished ranks, however, is that this modest wave of departures may only be a harbinger of a broader exodus to come. … No retirement has stung more than that of Hurd, a former CIA officer who shocked the party last night when he announced that he would not seek reelection in 2020 and would instead ‘pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security.’ Hurd made no mention of Trump, nor of the president’s recent spate of racist tweets, but he noted that he is the only African American member of the Republican conference and represents a border district that is 71 percent Latino.”
Starting with his district - Roll Call: “It didn’t take long for National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Tom Emmer to weigh in, arguing that the district favors Republicans and that the party ‘will fight tooth and nail’ to keep it. But the fundamentals of this district tell a different story. Hurd won reelection by less than 1,000 votes in 2018 and by about 3,000 in 2016. And as Inside Elections contributor Ryan Matsumoto pointed out, Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke carried the 23rd District in his 2018 loss to Sen. Ted Cruz. The demographics of the district also favor Democrats. Less than a quarter of the district is non-Hispanic white, and 40 percent of the non-Hispanic white population has a bachelor’s degree or higher. And while it’s possible that a Democratic primary heats up now that the seat is open, Democrats are ready with Gina Ortiz Jones, who nearly toppled Hurd last year and already raised $588,000 through June for what, until tonight, appeared to be a rematch contest.”
Where does this leave House Dems? - Atlantic: “After Democrats last recaptured the House majority in 2006, more than 20 GOP lawmakers retired outright rather than seek reelection in 2008, helping Democrats expand their majority in the presidential-election year. A similar scenario could occur next year. … Democrats will have their share of retirements, too. A pair of members—Representatives Jose Serrano of New York and Dave Loebsack of Iowa—have already disclosed their intentions not to seek another term. And the party’s campaign arm has had its own turmoil: A group of top staffers at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee resigned on Monday after lawmakers criticized the organization’s lack of diversity in hiring. But the Democrats’ staffing struggle pales in comparison to the GOP’s dearth of diverse candidates and office-holders. And for the second consecutive election, a slew of key departures is likely to leave Republicans at an electoral disadvantage.”
THE RULEBOOK: WAYS AND MEANS
“It rests upon axioms as simple as they are universal; the MEANS ought to be proportioned to the END; the persons, from whose agency the attainment of any END is expected, ought to possess the MEANS by which it is to be attained.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 23
TIME OUT: PICKLE UP
Garden&Gun: “[Texas’] affection for a certain Mexican mineral water has inspired cocktails, country songs, and lately, a crop of local competitors. ‘When we started this thing, Texas didn’t have a sparkling water,’ says Christian Helms, who co-founded Austin-based Big Swig in 2017. … Their independent approach reveals itself in bold can design and even bolder flavors, from Chile Mango and Watermelon Mint to Jalapeño Pineapple and a surprising new addition: Party Pickle. … ‘We knew that folks would really be excited by it, and that it would pique curiosity. But we also knew that it would pair fantastically with barbecue.’ The beverage itself has a strong pickle aroma, but the taste is subtler and slightly salty, with a hint of cucumber. It’s easy to see how it might stand up to a thick slice of brisket, or form the base for a pickleback-inspired whiskey soda.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 43.8 percent
Average disapproval: 52.2 percent
Net Score: -8.4 points
Change from one week ago: down 2.2 points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; Fox News: 46% approve - 51% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve - 53% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 45% approve - 52% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve - 51% disapprove.]
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WARREN CONTINUES TO EMBRACE ‘MEDICARE FOR ALL’
Politico: “Elizabeth Warren boasts she has a plan for everything, but there’s one glaring omission: health care. Warren, who has recently leaped into the top tier of a crowded primary field as she rolled out detailed policies for seemingly everything … has instead embraced ‘Medicare for All’ legislation from Sen. Bernie Sanders, her foremost progressive rival. … Democratic advocates and political strategists suggested there’s little upside to Warren offering her own plan right now as she and Sanders … chase a similar set of progressive voters. By aligning with Sanders, she can fight for a progressive priority without boxing herself in with a prescriptive plan that’s unlikely to differ much from the one he’s written. But they say Warren will need to strike a delicate balance as the field of candidates winnows — appealing to progressives by championing single-payer health care while still presenting a clear enough alternative to Sanders.”
Big Labor warns Dems not to take union workers for granted - Fox News: “Big Labor warned Democratic presidential contenders Wednesday against taking union support for granted, adding that Dems would need to be more honest about the party’s record on workers’ rights, reports said. The president of the AFL-CIO labor union, which represents 12.5 million union workers, addressed a closed-door meeting with representatives from each campaign in attendance before the second round of debates Wednesday in Detroit. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka argued that ‘both parties’ needed to take responsibility for U.S. labor laws that benefit corporations to the detriment of the middle class. … It wasn't the first time the AFL-CIO has criticized Democrats this year. … As the Democratic Party shifts toward a more progressive identity, Trumka reminded 2020 candidates that unions would no longer support candidates simply because of their party affiliation.”
Michelle Obama squashes presidential run rumors - Fox News: “Former first lady Michelle Obama is resisting calls for her to run for president, saying there's ‘zero chance’ that she will seek the Oval Office. In a new interview published in Amtrak's magazine The National, Obama sat down with 12-year-old journalist Hilde Lysiak to promote her Better Make Room campaign aimed at engaging college students. Lysiak pressed Obama about seeking the highest office in the land, something she has previously expressed no interest in. … ‘Just between us, and the readers of this magazine — there’s zero chance,’ Obama responded. ‘There are so many ways to improve this country and build a better world, and I keep doing plenty of them, from working with young people to helping families lead healthier lives. But sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office will never be one of them. It’s just not for me.’”
U.S. JOB GROWTH REMAINS STEADY IN JULY
Fox Business: “U.S. employers added 164,000 jobs in July, right in line with Wall Street's expectations — a fairly un-noteworthy number, but evidence that the record-long economic expansion is continuing to chug along at a healthy pace. The unemployment rate remained steady at 3.7 percent, near a 50-year-low, while the labor force participation rate was also little unchanged at 63 percent. Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, rose by 8 cents to $27.98. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent, slightly beating expectations of 3.1 percent growth but continuing to disappoint. For an economy with historically low unemployment, wage growth continues to fall short of expectations. It's not a new development for the U.S. economy, however: Since 1979, productivity has risen six times faster than hourly compensation for the typical U.S. worker.”
Dow flips from gain to loss after China tariffs announcement - Fox Business: “U.S. stocks surrendered big gains Thursday, falling hard after President Trump tweeted that additional tariffs would be slapped on Chinese goods. The selling looks to continue on Friday morning as equity futures are pointing to further declines. Dow Industrial futures are 0.2 percent lower, S&P 500 futures are slipping by 0.3 percent and Nasdaq futures are off 0.6 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had been up 311 points before the tweet -- meaning that within minutes of the tariff news the blue-chip index had plunged from a peak to a trough of more than 600 points. The market's gains before the tariff news stemmed from optimism that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates again in September.”
TRUMP PULLS OUT OF REAGAN-ERA ARMS TREATY
Fox News: “A historic arms-control treaty signed three decades ago by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was scrapped after President Trump decided to withdraw Friday. The move to scrap the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty comes amid the administration’s assessment that Russia was in ‘material breach of the treaty’ and made no effort to ‘come back into compliance’ with the agreement, a senior White House official said. Russia was given a six-month period, in accordance with the treaty, as a ‘final opportunity to come back into compliance’ with the agreement, but the government headed by President Vladimir Putin ‘has made no efforts to do that,’ the official added. The end of the treaty sparks of a new global arms race between the two countries, which possess the world's largest nuclear arsenals. The Trump administration stressed it was Russia’s fault the treaty came to an end…”
House Dems keep impeachment push alive in hometown town halls - Roll Call
President Trump attacks progressives during Cincinnati rally Thursday - Politico
U.S. preparing to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan as part of proposed Taliban deal - Fox News
AUDIBLE: FAMILY AFFAIRS
“You can’t control your brothers. You can’t control your grown son. But you can put some firewalls in place in your own office.” – Richard Painter, a former chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush era, discussing Joe Biden’s potential problems with family members’ business practices and politics per Politico.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This week Mr. Sunday will sit down with White House trade adviser, Peter Navarro. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.
#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
OM NOM NOM NOM
Fox News: “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Apparently, a man dressed in a Cookie Monster shirt, according to police. Someone donning a shirt featuring the famed blue ‘Sesame Street’ character allegedly entered a convenience store in Forest Grove, Ore., in the middle of the night on July 22 and ate half a package of cookies and then left without paying. When police arrived on the scene, ‘the alleged cookie monster was gone,’ officials stated in a news release. But investigators said that the next day, the cookie thief visited the Forest Grove Police Department and confessed that he had ‘indeed taken a cookie from the convenience store,’ but said the situation was a misunderstanding. ‘This entry was brought to you by the letters C and T, and the number 3, as in Citation for Theft 3,’ police wrote.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Am I for Prohibition? No. But I am for a little perspective. We tend to think of the turn-of-the-century temperance movement as little blue-haired ladies trying to prevent people from having a good time on Saturday night. In fact, the temperance movement was part of a much larger progressive movement seeking to improve the appalling conditions of the urban working class.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for Time magazine on June 24, 2001.
Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.